The Waypaver Foundation and The Moon Society
The Waypaver Foundation is a donor funded non-profit with the mission of removing obstacles to human lunar settlement. The Foundation’s website is http://waypaverfoundation.org/. The Moon Society and Waypaver have joined forces to provide the Society direct access to researchers and projects that need resources. The Society can mobilize its members and fundraising infrastructure while the Foundation’s research connections and experts can vette the research that needs to be done and who can do the work. Coordination is simple since the CEO of the Foundation, Michael Mealling, is also the Society’s current President.
The Foundation even has its own version of the Artemis Databook in the form of the Integrated Space Plan (https://integratedspaceanalytics.com/cms/plan). Discussions are underway to move the Index into the Lunarpedia. Future projects include working together on an update to the Moon Society website, targeted economic and financial research, policy statements, and joint funding of lunar surface operations research.
Space Directive 1 and US Space Policy
On December 11, 2017 President Trump signed Space Directive 1 in a signing ceremony at the White House. The Directive made one change to the National Space Policy of 2010 that replaced the paragraph beginning “Set far-reaching exploration milestones” with:
“Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;”.
Here are some highlights of the talking points release prior to the event:
- Instructed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to pursue manned extraterrestrial exploration.
- Space Policy Directive – 1 instructs NASA to return American astronauts to the moon.
- At its inaugural October meeting, the National Space Council unanimously agreed to lead commercial and international partners above and beyond previous U.S. space policy:
- Return United States astronauts to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization
- By refocusing our space program on feasible goals, President Trump will create incentives for private industry that spur 21st century space capabilities.
- The Moon is of interest to international partners and is within reach of America’s private space industry.
- Under the new Space Policy Directive, the United States will help drive the burgeoning domestic space industry, bring new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology.
The Society is a non-partisan organization and as such applauds any effort to return humans to the moon permanently and to develop lunar resources for use on Earth and in space.
Details on program changes and funding priorities will begin to become clearer once budget requests begin to be released in February and March. The text of the Directive can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-reinvigorating-americas-human-space-exploration-program/
United Launch Alliance’s Cislunar 1000 Vision
In 2016 United Launch Alliance released their plan for 1,000 people living and working in Earth-moon space roughly 30 years from now. Called the "Cislunar 1,000 Vision", the plan is based on the simple idea that transportation from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to anything beyond Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) can have significant cost savings if the fuel necessary to transfer the payload from LEO to the desired orbit is delivered to LEO from the Moon (e.g. down the gravity well) rather than from the Earth’s surface up (e.g. up the gravity well).
ULA envisions four major steps:
The interesting development in the past year has been that ULA has publicly acknowledged what many in the industry had only heard as rumors: that the company had signed MOUs for fuel at LEO for the first stage of the plan for around $1 billion. The company felt strongly enough about the plan that it was willing to act as a ‘market maker’ by signing agreements with fuel developers that those developers could use to raise funds.
Regardless of whether ULA’s vision unfolds as they are planning, their economic statement has already affected national space policy and how money is being deployed in the commercial sector. The best summary of ULAs plan can be found in a Youtube video they produced last year:
Moon Village Association Workshop Report
Another development that began in 2016 but saw considerable developments in 2017 was Johann-Dietrich Wörner, the Director General of the European Space Agency, plan for lunar cooperation called the Moon Village. While a difficult concept to pin down, the general idea is that the Moon can handle large numbers of players with different goals who can cooperate in various ways such that the result is more than any one player can afford to do on their own.
Earlier this year ESA and others created an independent organization called the Moon Village Association (MVA) whose mission is to provide a forum for further developing the idea and for cooperation among organizations inside and outside of Europe. The Association has four main working groups: economics & finance, site(s) selection, systems architecture, and association participation mechanisms.
Michael Mealling, President of the Moon Society, attended the first public meeting of the Association at the International Space University in Strasbourg this fall and is a regular participant in the economics and finance working group. It is expected that the MVA will have similar meetings in 2018 in which the Moon Society will participate as an affiliated organization.
Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Update
2017 came and went with no team winning the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The expectation was that the competition would end at the end of 2017 but Google and The XPRIZE Foundation announced that as long as the team landed prior to March 31, 2018 it could still win. The previous cutoff in 2015 was that only those teams that had a verified launch contract prior to the end of 2016 would be allowed to move forward. The current competitors are: SpaceIL (spaceil.com), Moon Express (moonexpress.com), Synergy Moon (synergymoon.org), Team Indus (teamindus.in), and Hakuto (team-hakuto.jp).
As of publication there are only three months remaining for any of the teams to launch. But whether any team actually wins the prize is almost irrelevant at this point. The competition and the progress of the teams has stimulated national policy changes (see Space Directive 1 above), capital access (ispace, the parent company of Hakuto, recently raised a $90M Series A), and changes in laws from various countries around the world. The goal of XPRIZE competitions is to stimulate companies and markets so that they can become sustainable industries. If the current trajectory of lunar development continues the prize can be considered a success regardless of whether anyone wins.
Moon Society, Mars Society, and Mars Foundation Join Together To Form The Marspedia Governing Council
Back in August, James Burk approached our Management Committee with an interesting proposal. Burk is the Mars Society’s current IT Director and was our Vice President & Webmaster back when The Moon Society was founded in 2000. Burk's proposal was that we begin working with The Mars Society, and another organization called The Mars Foundation, to form an official Governing Council over the Marspedia.org wiki. Marspedia was originally started by The Moon Society back in 2007 along with Lunarpedia.org and some other space and science fiction-related wikis.
We accepted Burk’s proposal and appointed one of our board members, James Gholston, to be our official representative on the new Governing Council. Burk and Gholston worked with Bruce Mackenzie from The Mars Foundation to write official Bylaws for Marspedia, to formalize our working relationship with these other space advocacy groups. At a meeting in October, the Council was formed with former Mars Society Executive Director Susan Holden Martin as Chair, and Burk as Vice Chair. Gholston was joined on the Council by our current Webmaster Rosalie Dieteman and also by Mike Delaney. Several officers from The Mars Society also joined the Council including Lucinda Offer (Executive Director), Carie Fay (Administrative Director), Michael Stoltz (Media & Public Relations), and Nicole Willett (Education Director). The Mars Society also began a major PR push to recruit volunteers and ask for content submissions via Facebook, LinkedIn, and their e-mail Newsletter.
Currently, we have formed Editorial and Technical Subcommittees and we are plugging in volunteers there. Anybody can help grow and manage the wiki, and can request a free account on www.marspedia.org. In 2018, we plan to roll out an atlas of Mars, and add to the stable of high-quality articles on various Mars-related topics. We will also fold in the new learnings and technologies used on Marspedia into the other wikis that the Moon Society maintains, such as Lunarpedia.
President's Report to Our Members on The State of The Society
(as presented at the Society's 9th Annual Membership Meeting on August 16, 2017)
The state of the Society is that the Society is not where it should be but it has a plan for improvement and we are entering a time where Lunar development is at least not taking a back seat to other priorities in space. An opportunity is presenting itself and the leadership of the Society is working to seize it.
As of 08/09/17, Moon Society membership stood at 89 members, down from 136 a year ago, an 34% decrease.
Treasury Report and Project Funding Proposals
The Society has funds available in the amount of $33,000, approximately flat from a year ago.
The Challenge of Projects
There are several great projects that the Society has approved to be done and many that could be done. The limitation on accomplishing these goals is the volunteer manpower to actually do the work. Increasing the participation by and value returned to our membership is our largest goal for the coming year.
Our website is now running on a Drupal 7 platform and is basically stable. The goal of the coming year is to update the design of both the main Moon Society web presence as well as the Lunarpedia. The Web has changed a lot over the years and many potential members use their mobile devices as their primary computing system. The Society must go to where the members are.
Other Web Assets
Our Facebook page and the Lunarpedia project continue to be one of our most popular portals.
Moon Miner's Manifesto
Moon Miner's Manifesto completed its 25th year of continuous publication, ten issues a year, with the November 2011 issue, #250. While individual back issues (in electronic pdf file format # 145 forward) remain username/password protected, all the non-time sensitive articles from the first 21 years are republished in the MMM Classics series, freely available to anyone. Peter Kokh, President Emeritus, has retired, but we will resume publishing soon but only electronically.
There is much going on lunar related in the space industry. Most of it is public but some is being done by private companies.
National Space Society
Our collaboration with the NSS is still strong but NSS has picked up the bulk of the effort, especially programming the lunar track at ISDC recently. This should change during the coming year.
The Waypaver Foundation
Our new President, Michael Mealling, is also the CEO of the Waypaver Foundation. Waypaver is a non-profit foundation working to fund specific scientific, political, and economic work necessary to remove any obstacles to lunar settlement. The